Scientists affiliated with the American Bell Laboratories have developed a technology whereby the range of a fiber optic connection can be considerably increased by applying a second, mirrored light beam. The speeds could also be higher.
The scientists to describe in the journal Nature Photonics the concept of phase conjugate. In addition to a light beam, a second, mirrored beam is sent over a fiber optic connection. By applying this technique, which is comparable to the use of anti-noise in noise canceling headsets, and reconstructing the two beams at the receiver, so-called nonlinear distortions and noise in each beam can be filtered out against each other. This would allow data to be sent via fiber over distances that would be a factor of four higher than with current technology.
By using phase conjugate, the researchers have succeeded in sending data over a distance of 12,800 km at a speed of 400 Gbit/s. In addition, according to the scientists at Bell Laboratories, it is possible to achieve even higher data rates, because the error recognition would be greatly improved with the technology used.
Bell Labs believes that the technology can be applied to existing fiber connections within a few years. This would make it possible to make better use of the available capacity, especially on submarine fiber optic cables that serve as backbones.